[Vision2020] Will Bush Cut, Run, but Stay?

nickgier at adelphia.net nickgier at adelphia.net
Sat May 26 13:00:58 PDT 2007

Will the Iraqis stand for a permanent South-Korea-like occupation?  

GOP Congressman are obviously pressuring Bush: they will lose big in 2008 if the 
troops do not start coming home. 

Nick Gier, supporting the troops but against this horrible war
The New York Times 
May 26, 2007 
White House Is Said to Debate ’08 Cut in Iraq Troops by 50% 
WASHINGTON, May 25 — The Bush administration is developing what are described as 
concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next 
year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal 
It is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White 
House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase 
runs its course. 
The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the 
midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, 
the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would 
also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American 
military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar 
The mission would instead focus on the training of Iraqi troops and fighting Al 
Qaeda in Mesopotamia, while removing Americans from many of the 
counterinsurgency efforts inside Baghdad. 
Still, there is no indication that Mr. Bush is preparing to call an early end to 
the current troop increase, and one reason officials are talking about their 
long-range strategy may be to blunt pressure from members of Congress, including 
some Republicans, who are pushing for a more rapid troop reduction. 
The officials declined to be quoted for attribution because they were discussing 
internal deliberations that they expected to evolve over several months. 
Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission 
next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary 
of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and 
elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the 
opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political 
So far, the concepts are entirely a creation of Washington and have been 
developed without the involvement of the top commanders in Iraq, Gen. David H. 
Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, both of whom have been enthusiastic 
supporters of the troop increase. 
Those generals and other commanders have made it clear that they are operating 
on a significantly slower clock than officials in Washington, who are eager for 
significant withdrawals before the president leaves office in January 2009. 
In an interview in Baghdad on Thursday, General Odierno, the senior United 
States ground commander, said any withdrawal of American troops was not 
advisable until December, “at a minimum.” 
Even then, he said, redeployments should be carried out slowly, to avoid 
jeopardizing security gains. 
General Odierno, who has pushed for extending the troop increase into next year, 
noted that units were in place or available to continue that effort through next 
But the ideas under discussion, from the National Security Council to the 
Pentagon, envision reductions beginning well before then. The last time American 
troop levels in Iraq were anywhere near 100,000 was in January 2004, when they 
fell briefly to about 108,000. 
One of the ideas, officials say, would be to reduce the current 20 American 
combat brigades to about 10, which would be completed between the spring of 2008 
and the end of the year. 
Several administration officials said they hoped that if such a reduction were 
under way in the midst of the presidential campaign, it would shift the debate 
from whether American forces should be pulled out by a specific deadline — the 
current argument consuming Washington — to what kind of long-term presence the 
United States should have in Iraq. 
“It stems from a recognition that the current level of forces aren’t sustainable 
in Iraq, they aren’t sustainable in the region, and they will be increasingly 
unsustainable here at home,” said one administration official who has taken part 
in the closed-door discussions. 
Rest of article deleted.

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